FAU’s Hootwisdom President Matt Smith on CompOWLAtion Volume 4: “This album was made for music lovers.”

FAU has seen its fair trials and tribulations in a ridiculously short amount of time. From becoming a laughing stock for its stadium sponsoring by a prison, getting sued by a former student and a suspension issued for not participating in a class exercise, it’s difficult to remember all the good the Boca college has done. Aside from its highly accredited and outstanding business curriculum, FAU has a student run and faculty supervised recording studio that allow student musicians to sharpen their skills and be one step closer to their dream. Singers such as Mandy Moon, Alex of couple duo Alex & Sierra and The Pathetique have all emerged as well as contributed to former albums. In fact, this Friday’s campus festivity is a celebration of the fourth CompOWLAtion album. I talked to senior and president Matt Smith and chatted about his experience as president, why this album is the best, and the bittersweet event for him on Friday.

Tell us about the campus release party.

Matt Smith: The campus release party will be in the on-campus bar and grill “The Burrow” and will begin at 3:30pm and will feature three extremely talented bands. Fuzzhound, Smith Sundy, and Beauty to the Moon will all perform. We will have a table with a laptop set up where can people can purchase their copies of CompOWLAtion vol. 4 and students who use the code “owl” will receive a 50% discount so that the album is only $3.50.

How is this CompOWLAtion different than the others?

This album is different mainly because we do not have to recoupe any expenses. We raised the money it took to produce the whole album last semester in our crowd funding campaign. So, we did not set out to create an album that is made to appeal to the masses. We set out to make what we feel is the best album that we could possibly make. The sole purpose of this album is to get local music heard by as many people as possible. While that has always been a mission of ours it has felt like it has taken a back seat to our mission of higher sales for more scholarship money in the past. But now the focus is not on scholarships or how many sales we can brag about. The mission is to get the music heard. Going into this we told each manager to tell their artist this exact phrase “help me, help you, help us” This is a phrase a few of us have heard from wiser individuals before that applies to the music industry perfectly. It applies to us perfectly because while one of our top priorities is helping these artists grow their brands they are simultaneously helping us grow as promoters, managers, and professionals overall.

Where are the proceeds going?

100% of the proceeds will go directly into the pockets of the immensely talented students that make up Hoot/Wisdom Recordings via a scholarship fund with the school.

How long have you been president for?

I have been President of Hoot/Wisdom Recordings since August of 2013.

How does it feel knowing that it’s your last CompOWLAtion because you are a senior?

It’s hard to explain. I have such an immense amount of pride in the work we have all been able to accomplish not just this semester but since 2010 when I first joined Hoot/Wisdom as an undeclared major freshman. This label has grown in so many ways and I’m so proud of everyone who was a part of it and genuinely honored that I get to be the leader of such a unique group of people. SO, I feel excited for people to hear what I think is our finest product yet and I am excited to know that a lot of people are going to listen to some fantastic local music…however I can’t help but get a little sentimental as well of course. Hoot/Wisdom has taken up such an immense amount of my time and effort and blood, sweat, and tears. So, of course I’ll miss it some. I’ll miss having a room full of some of the most talented people in the state looking at me waiting to find out what we’re doing next. And I’ll miss setting up shows with a bunch of amazing bands just for the sake having a great time. But all in all I feel proud.

Any plans as a graduate?

My plans after graduation are a little up in the air for now. I’m going to continue to pursue a career in music around South Florida. I’ve interned in PR before and I think there are plenty of career opportunities for that down here. But, I know there is a very decent chance that I will move to LA or NYC. I have a few different opportunities that I plan on looking into and we’ll see where going the extra mile takes me.

Any additional comments?

My last comment is that I hope people appreciate this album for what it is. It is an honest display of FAU students’ creativity. It is brutally honest and real. There isn’t a single song on here that was created in order to emulate anyone else or sound like something we aren’t. This music isn’t for critics, or the radio, or MTV. It’s for those who are interested in what real unaltered creativity sounds like. It was made for people who love all kinds of music for what it is: humanly aestheticized sound. This album is for the people who have countless playlists for every imaginable daily activity or life event, the people who (at least try to) sing harmonies with all the pop tunes on the radio, for those who comment on a movie’s soundtrack just as enthusiastically as the acting or special effects, and for those who sometimes just HAVE to hear a certain song at a random time. This album was made for music lovers.

3:00 p.m. Friday, March 13, at the Burrow. 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. No cover. Visit Facebook.

Taylor Loren: “Bringing Old Country Back With a New Twist”

Avoiding the usual country music songs about Daisy Dukes, pickup trucks, and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Delray Beach cutie Taylor Loren has more of an edge.

The rest of this article was published online in the Broward New Times and can be found here:


Five Things to Do Under $5 This Weekend

5. Jude Performance with Special Guest Sur Back
8 p.m., Friday, August 1, at Harold’s, 509 Northwood Rd, West Palm Beach. No cover. Visit Facebook.
West Palm Beach coffeehouse Harold’s is gonna rock this Friday night, and when we say rocked, we mean gently pulse with dreamy, ’90s influenced electronica. Teen duo Jude performs alongside songstress Sur Back. Get ready to fanout.

The rest of this article was published online in the Broward New Times and can be found here:


Five Things to Do This Weekend Under $10

Courtesy of Facebook
Courtesy of Facebook

5. B3BQ Bacon Beats BBQ
12 p.m., Sunday, at Harold’s, 509 Northwood Rd., West Palm Beach. $5 cover. VisitFacebook.
What do bacon, art, and music have in common? All three will be intertwined in a beautiful ménage à trios of sorts this Sunday at Harold’s in West Palm Beach. A mere 5 bones will provide you access to all the actual bones you can suck on. There will be barbecue and there will be bacon.

The rest of this blog was published online in the Broward New Times and can be found here: http://bit.ly/1rRMcF9 

The “C” Word is Now the “F” Word

With the desensitized society we are currently living in, we barely bat an eye at the curse words uttered, screamed and shouted from our lips. Bitch, shit, ass, we’ve heard and said it all. Hell, say the word “fuck” and no one even bats an eye. It somewhat detracts from the excitement when you think about it. But, alas, there is one word that can still cause a cringe and a sense of feeling flabbergasted when stated.


Even reading it makes you appalled, huh? Call a girl a bitch and it’s almost a term of endearment. Call her a cunt and well, you “crossed the line”, it was “unnecessary” and “downright vulgar”.

This brings me to the point I’m trying to convey: the F word lost its power. The C word is now the F word.

Think about it – how many times have you heard the word “fuck” in songs, kids singing those songs, from men in well-dressed business suits and even ladies adorned in pearls and classic pumps? Pretty fucking often, huh? The C word, on the other hand, is possibly reserved more for “special” occasions, like when you’ve reached that brink, when shouting the F word no longer gives you that dirty satisfaction or when you really, REALLY want to affect someone verbally. The C word is harsher, lingers in the air longer and is way more taboo.

But it’s ironic, really. The actual object of the C word, something so delicate and feminine, has the power to turn heads so fast that necks ache, can astonish even the most vulgar of mouths and might even stop traffic. The F word linguistically represents a larger variety of usage in a noun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective. The word “fuck” has its own fucking entity. Because the C word hasn’t reached that linguistic level yet, we are not desensitized to it. On the other side of the cursing spectrum, the F word is used so often in as many aspects as possible that it’s become common language.

Perhaps we need to give curse words back their power, give a bit of mystique in our everyday dialogue. Vulgarity will be almost nonexistent with everyone cursing and where’s the fun in that? Cursing will be less of a release, less of a stress reliever and we all need that. So let’s not all be fucking cunts and give curse words their power back. Your grandma will be proud.

The Gift of Life

Image courtesy of Natalya Jones

“They said it’s cancer,” my mom said on the other line. I got up from the table where I was playing “Princesses” with the little girls I was babysitting and paced the hallway. “Oh?” I said, trying to keep my voice from shaking. “Yes,” mom continued. “Al amyloidosis with multiple myeloma. They said it’s usually found in people with Mediterranean descent, so maybe Nana [her mother] secretly slept with someone other than my father,” she laughed.

I backed up against a wall and slowly eased myself to the floor as I forced myself to laugh. “Oh, Nana,” I lamely said, ignoring the tears springing to my eyes.

I hung up the phone and resumed babysitting. I remember not being able to concentrate on the drive home, missing the highway exit and having to reroute. Seriously? Cancer? That doesn’t happen to my mom, or people I know. This happens in stories or movies where the main character has a bucket list or cheesy romance of some sort. Not in my family. Not with my mother.

I couldn’t even wholeheartedly enjoy the Heat Championship that night, one of my favorite teams.

I even remember thinking, “Well, shit. She’s handling it well. How can she even joke at a time like this?” I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that my mother could laugh despite such a horrendous setback. She is always able to keep it together, always. Whether it was concerning a messy divorce, raising five children, working four jobs or even attending to things I needed help with, like a collegiate term paper, she always seemed to make things work. How? Don’t ask me. I only admire what she does. I do, however, wish I could duplicate it.

I mean, come to think of it, my mother really does have an impressive rap sheet. Ph.D, daughter, mother, sister, teacher, friend, author, lover, she wears many hats. And she does it gracefully and with humor. The fact is, throughout this whole terrible ordeal, she STILL manages to give to others. Like how I come home at midnight after working two jobs and she tries to stay awake to say hi. Or how she sits down at the table to help my brothers with their homework with the absolute utmost patience and drives to see my sister for lunch, even if it’s only for half an hour.

People in her workplace are astonished by her. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen her get hugged and thanked by parents she works with, or how her students look at her in admiration.  Even fellow coworkers have a big smile on their faces after a chat with my mom. “Claudia,” they say. “It’s Dr. Jones,” she playfully shoots back, grinning. It’s truly inspiring to see how many lives she touches and has touched.

I can set up and help out with a few fundraisers here or there. I can create a Facebook page and a fundraising site. I can make a binder to help her organize her various medications and doctor visits. But can I take cancer away? No. Can I take away the pain she’s feeling, the swelling in her ankles, the uncomfortable cathe in her chest, help her grow her hair back? No, but I wish. I wish it were me so she didn’t have to go through this. She doesn’t deserve this. She doesn’t need to be inflicted with this horrible disease. But you know what? The joke is on cancer. It really is, because cancer doesn’t affect people long term who are fighters or who have a strong spirit. My mother has all that and more. She’s a survivor. Years from now, this is going to be just a minor bump in the road. She’s going to be at our weddings, see my brothers graduate, see me and my sister excel in our careers. I can’t wait till she holds her grandkids and I can tell them what an amazing person she is. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her and I thank her for everything but most importantly, the gift of life.

5 Pub Events for American Craft Beer Week

The most American thing next to boob jobs and  baseball arrives May 13 and departs May 19. This, all you American brew lovers, is American Craft Beer Week. To aid you in your search for cold craft deliciousness, we compiled a quick list for you. Enjoy, beer drinkers, enjoy.

To further educate yourself on craft beer, watch this video below. Warning: it may cause cravings for a cold one.


Riverside Market

Fort Lauderdale’s Riverside Market has a whole week of events to keep any beer drinker occupied! Starting Monday on the 13th, Riverside will host Bomber Night where specials on American Bombers will be given all night long. Tuesday is Beer Bingo and trust us, we can assure you it’s not your grandma’s bingo. On Wednesday, this market will not only feature funky beer, but will be raffling off some kick ass gear and prizes. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, live music and food specials will be present as well. Beers featured include Florida Beer Company’s Florida Lager, Devil’s Triangle, Gaspars Porter, Key West beers and Swamp Ape IPA. The Florida Avenue rep will be in on Thursday and raffling off a chance to win a trip to the brewery in Tampa. Florida Avenue’s Ale, India Pale Ale, Betchy Brown Ale and Blueberry beer will be present as well. IPA Friday offers a plethora of Ft. Laudy’s IPA’s while on Saturday, Riverside owner Julian Siegel sells rare Cigar City beers.

The verdict? Pencil us in, we’re sold!

The Pub

The Pub in Pembroke Gardens most definitely celebrates this unofficial (but should be official) holiday with specials lasting all week. Featured in the menu is the good ol’ brewer Samuel Adams with a Craft Beer Sampler as well as a Samuel Adams pairing menu. This delectable menu includes not only delish courses, but it chooses the beer for you. The best part? This four course selection is available for only $24.95 per person, which is usually the cost of salmon alone, aka one of the features on the menu. Once again, we’re sold.

Tap 42

Clear your schedules, people -Tap 42 has a whole itinerary of beer drinking events that’s enough to make a frat boy happy. On Monday, May 13, celebrate the Brooklyn Tap Takeover and Release with beers like Brooklyn Lager, 25th Anniversary, Brewmaster’s Reserve Radius, Brewmaster’s Reserve The Companion, Brewmaster’s Reserve Mary’s Maple Porter, & Brooklyn Blast. Tuesday is the Oskar Blues Tap Takeover featuring beers such as Dale’s Pale Ale, Deviant Dales, Gubna, G’Rauch. Skip to Thursday, and you’ll see the Drink like a Local Tap Takeover, with no specific beers listed, but a promises of a “special & rare Cigar City Tapping”. Friday-Sunday is Summer Beer Weekend and has beers Abita Lemon Wheat, Harpoon Summer, Sierra Summerfest, Brooklyn Summer, Anchor Summer, and more on tap. All events are at 7 pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to booze up!

World of Beer

What better way to celebrate Craft Beer Week then celebrating a specific state along with it? California Dreamin’ at Coconut Creek’s World of Beer does just that! This features a tap takeover by The Bruery with 5 Golden Rings, Autumn Maple, Hummulus Lager, and Trade Winds Triple. Special tappings of Stone Enjoy by IPA, and Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout will be going down as well.
But this is just an example of one of the nights featured – every night of American Craft Beer Week, WOB will release a one off keg from various breweries micro breweries. For instance, Thursday, May 16 features a system wide Dogfish Head Shark Attack, Saturday is a American Craft Brewery Night, and Sunday is an all American Cookout sponsored by Samuel Adams. Looks like your schedule is going to be full, huh?

JG McGuiness

A true American favorite, Dogfish Head, will be featured at Weston’s finest pub, JG McGuiness. This tap takeover event will be featured Wednesday on the 15th and of course, other craft beers on the menu will be featured as well. So, if you want to check out other beers available at JG that you haven’t had before, this week is certainly the week to get your boozin’ on.